Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Elmer the Secret Agent- A Tutorial

I started Matilda's coat Baby-Baby.
Would you like to sew along?
As Tildy would say 'You are most welcome'.
Gather the bits that need interfacing.
The collar, back and front facings and the sleeve flaps.
Do them now.
As the drill I am using is quite soft I interfaced the shoulder flap and back loop too.
Pin the shoulder flaps, right sides together.
Press and trim the sewn edge.
The closer you trim a curve the neater it will be. The flap is decorative so there will be no pressure on the seam.
Press again.
Turn the flap and roll the edge under your fingers to achieve a good curve. Finger press and then press.
If the seam is stiff try dampening it with a water spray.
If you wish too, edge stitch the flap.
A pin will stop the fabric slipping as you do so.
Pin the flap to the front bodice.
Baste in place with a 3/8th seam allowance.
Pin the collar pieces, right sides together.
I find it really helpful to mark the pivot point for the collar by measuring the seam allowance.
Sew, press and trim the seam.
As I am sewing a drill I trimmed the curve with pinking shears for more ease.
Turn the collar.
Gently push the corners out.
To get a nice curve, try opening the collar and pressing the seam towards the interfaced side.
Finger press and then iron press the edge of the collar.
Remember, dampen and roll under your fingers if you need to.
Baste the edge with a 3/8th seam and then edge stitch.
If you wish!
Pin the sleeve tabs, right side together. The notched edge is left un-sewn.
Sew and trim the seams, clipping the corners.
Turn the sleeve tabs and gently push the corners out.
Dampen and roll the edges, finger press and then press with the iron.
Edge stitch the sleeve tab. If you wish.
Transfer the button marking.
Pin the sleeve tab to the sleeve front matching notches.
Baste them in place with a 3/8th seam.
I like to baste the sleeve tab in place at the button marking.
Pin the sleeve front to the sleeve back matching the notches.
Sew, neaten and press the seam flat.
Press the seam to the back sleeve. The edge of the ironing board is perfect for this.
Take your time and press well.
Press again from the right side. Set the sleeve aside and let it cool before handling it again.
 Topstitch the seam and press again.
Sew a turning guide at the sleeve hem and press the seam in place.
 Measure and fold the hem by another inch and press well.
 Let the pressed hem cool.
 The pre-folded hem will make it easier to do later.
 Pin the inner sleeve seam matching notches.
 Sew, press and trim the seam to reduce bulk.
 Neaten the seam and press flat.
 Using a piece of dowel press the seam to one side.
This is an awesome 'Liesl Tip' I use all the time.
 Re-fold the hem seam.
 Press the hem in place.
It is easier to do this on the inside.
 Pin the hem in place.
 Turn the sleeve through to the right side.

We have a sleeve!
Sew this hem on the inside, much easier.
 Press the hem on the inside.
Rinse and Repeat!

See you later Alligator.


  1. So can't wait to see this finished!

  2. This coat is going to look mad!
    love the tip about letting the ironed piece cool before touching! I never remember to do that!! :)

    1. It's completely mad! And I love it!
      Cooling time helps prevent creases in cotton and helps wool 'set'. If you can bear to let it cool I am sure you will be happy with the results.
      Thank you
      xx N

    2. I thought you were just reminding us not to burn our fingers! it seems you're kind AND clever!

    3. Thank you, now, may you sign that and give it to my daughters?

      xx N

  3. Oh my! Awesome fabric choice! And your way of sewing the sleeve hem from the inside is genius. I am locking that tip in my brain forever!

    1. Thank you Mary.
      As you can see, my machine is set into a table so I have to sew that way. It still is very useful with a standard machine too.
      xx N

  4. Off to find a dowel... thank you for mentioning it!

  5. I used to use a towel rolled up Susanne. This is far far superior.
    xx N

  6. Thanks to you, I have been sewing hems and pant legs turn right side up, on the inside of the hem, for years now and it is SO MUCH BETTER than what I was doing before! Every time you mention it I am reminded that I learned this trick from you. :-)

    1. That is so lovely, thank you. I am so lucky to have friends from all over the world and the little tips and stories we share pop into my mind often.
      xx N

  7. Genius!
    I know I'll be referring to this post when I (finally) decided to sew one for my girl (or myself, as I'm pretty sure I might squeeze into a size 12 with added length, lol)

  8. Thank you Ana Sofia, the 12 would most definitely fit you.
    i am a petite build but carrying weight (which I know you are not doing) so it will fit you if it fits me!
    xx N